The plotlines that make me switch off the soaps

PUBLISHED: 06:35 13 March 2018

Coronation Street: Anne Edwards loves the soap, but is not sure the plotlines always make for early-evening escapism. Picture: ITV

Coronation Street: Anne Edwards loves the soap, but is not sure the plotlines always make for early-evening escapism. Picture: ITV


Anne Edwards is all for a bit of soap-style drama... but just watch the plotlines please.

There are only two “soaps” I follow – Coronation Street on TV and The Archers on Radio 4. But both have made me switch off at some or another, feeling disturbed.

The good things about these two are they are non-political; in fact The Archers was quite funny after the Brexit referendum with one set of farmers bemoaning the Leave majority, and others welcoming it. Much the same as in real life, a shrewd move.

Coronation Street meantime has a mayor of Weatherfield in Sally Metcalfe, who doesn’t appear to belong to a political party. Well done the scriptwriters.

The Archers switch-off came during a storyline where menacing husband Rob Titchener began to control every aspect of wife Helen’s life; it was mind control at the very worst. No physical signs of abuse but a relentless chipping away to reduce this woman to fight back and stab him in self defence.

As this storyline evolved over months, I found myself pressing the off button on my radio; I couldn’t bear to listen, it was scary, but more than likely this same control thing was happening to women all over the world – and it still is.

I know it is important to highlight social issues, but… early evening?

Contrast this with the Street, which has always included social issues in its episodes, but today has a mass murderer in its midst. For goodness’ sake, bring it to an end and let Phelan get his just desserts – and not be killed off.

At the same time are storylines about a homosexual vicar-turned-drug addict, just months after adopting a daughter; a youngster who it is feared takes after her husband-bashing mother; and a desperate-for-a-baby woman, who has coerced her sister’s sister (err, but not her own sister) into carrying her unwanted baby so she can adopt it.

Oh, and by the way, she and her alcoholic husband run a pub!

Well, there you have it. I can now take it or leave it with Coronation Street.

Yes, we have to have storylines which attract viewers in – but the more sensational or disturbing they get, well, I just switch off. I get my social issues news for real from newspaper and news websites.

In the early evening I want to be entertained gently, not splutter into my dinner or choke on broccoli in disbelief. By 9pm I am ready for the hard stuff and so bring it on then.

Should Coronation Street continue in its vein of society’s mixed-up problems, it needs to be on later. I’m no prude, as a journalist it’s a bit rich to claim that, but I do feel some storylines go to the extreme. And don’t get me started on the plots of those typical, lovely Cockney lot in EastEnders!

By all means reflect society of today; but in the case of the north of England-based Weatherfield, not every ill in society exists in one street! There’s only so much a character – and me - can take.

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